Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 14th January 2014.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the legitimacy of the recent elections in Bangladesh.

Photo of Hugh Robertson Hugh Robertson Minister of State

As the Minister of State, my noble Friend the right hon. Baroness Warsi, noted in her statement of 6 January, the election was called in accordance with Bangladesh's constitution. But, like others in the international community, the UK is disappointed that voters in more than half the constituencies did not have the opportunity to express their will at the ballot box and that turnout in most other constituencies was low.

The UK believes that the true mark of a mature, functioning democracy is peaceful elections that express the genuine will of the voters. We have therefore also called on all political parties to work together to strengthen democratic accountability as an urgent priority and to build the willingness and capacity to hold future participatory elections, without the fear of intimidation or reprisals.

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